The ongoing public feud between movie rental service Netflix and game rental service GameFly has taken another interesting turn, with Netflix accusing GameFly of wanting special treatment from the United States Postal Service.
GameFly first drew criticism from Netflix when it alleged the US Postal Commission was offering “unreasonable preferences” because the company tried to keep game rentals under the 1-ounce first-class mail weight limit — but has been unable to do so.
If forced to use a protective insert designed to keep the games safe during sorting will bump disc weight up to 2 ounces, according to the filing. The shipping price increases from 42 cents up to $1 dollar per video game if the plastic inserts are used and weight increases an extra ounce, GameFly claims.
“GameFly does not seek nondiscriminatory treatment; GameFly wants its own special treatment,” Netflix said in a recent statement. ““Instead of investing the time and resources that Netflix has in reducing its costs … GameFly is attempting to get reduced postage costs … so they can get the economic equivalent of what Netflix has achieved on its [disc] breakage reduction.”
GameFly also became increasingly concerned that its discs — with an estimated 590,000 discs shipped per month — were breaking while being sorted.
GameFly has seen increased pressure from the likes of Redbox, Blockbuster’s postal mail game rentals and other streaming services looking to cater to streaming video games and video game rentals. Even so, the Blockbuster Games By Mail program still isn’t worth the attention from gamers, because the program simply isn’t a good deal.
GameFly also has a new “year-a-day-giveaway” contest that will enter each GameFly subscriber into a contest for one-year free complementary memberships.
Even with lawsuits, a high-profile battle with Netflix, and a contest giveaway, I see GameFly more as a desperate company than a well-run, organized company. GameFly needs to resolve its issues with the USPS and move on — there is little time for the company to mess around when it needs to be marketing to gamers.